MAILBOX: Vaccination not the only way – Discovery Health

Discovery Health’s approach to the prophylactic and early treatment of Covid is to constantly scour the globe for the latest available proven remedies, engaging manufacturers of those that show promise, and pushing for regulatory approval. This will enable them to include these new treatments in scheme benefits, with the most current example being the antiviral therapies, Molnupiravir and Paxlovid, according to Ron Whelan, the company’s chief commercial officer. He was responding to a question from BizNews reader, Marc Johnson, who questioned, “the headlong rush into vaccinating (as the one and only solution to this pandemic)”, instead of exploring safe and effective medications. Whelan’s full response, set out below, adds that Monlupiravir and Paxlovid have shown promising benefit, with early prescription preventing severe illness and death, especially in patients at higher risk of severe Covid-19 as a result of underlying medical conditions.  Discovery is negotiating to have them included as soon as they’re registered. – Chris Bateman.


BizNews community member Marc Johnson writes……

In response to this newsletter, and linking to the BizNews Digest that came out on Saturday, I would like Mr Gore to comprehensively answer one question:

What is Discovery’s approach to the prophylactic and early treatment of Covid?

I had mild Covid-19 in June this year, and this led me to do my own reading and the puzzling question in my head that started me digging more and more was this:

Why the headlong rush into vaccinating (as the one and only solution to this pandemic)? And no-one on the planet seems to have been spared this incessant messaging.

Surely, however, we must also let doctors do what doctors do; which is everything in their power to reduce suffering and save lives?

Which seemingly, in the first number of months of 2020, they did, applying their minds to using safe and effective medications (some OTC; some repurposed) in the treatment of this new virus.

So again, circling back to my opening question to Mr Gore, I would believe his pronouncements on vaccines and mandates a lot more if I saw tangible evidence of his company (and its veritable army of capable people) pursuing  ALL available avenues to save and protect people from Covid.


Dr Ron Whelan, Discovery Health CCO responds……

Dear Mr Johnson

Thank you for your enquiry regarding Discovery’s approach to Covid-19 prophylaxis and treatment, and for affording us the opportunity to respond. 

Throughout the pandemic Discovery’s approach to Covid-19 has been underpinned by the latest available scientific and clinical evidence, as well as applicable regulatory authorisation of such treatments. A specialised team of doctors and clinical experts at Discovery Health continuously scours the globe for the latest available proven treatments and mechanisms for preventing Covid-19. Accordingly, Discovery has a comprehensive suite of Covid-19 benefits that includes all treatments and interventions with proven and robust scientific and clinical evidence. These include a range of existing medications as well as a range of newer medications that have emerged during the course of the pandemic and have received the relevant regulatory authorisations and approvals. 

Various treatments and therapeutic agents have been evaluated in clinical trials globally for Covid-19 prophylaxis and treatment across various stages and severities of Covid-19 illness. While some treatments including systemic corticosteroid therapies, monoclonal antibody therapies, high concentration oxygen and some anti-inflammatory agents have been shown to offer benefit in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, several other treatments have shown little to no clinical benefit. Medications that failed to show clinical benefit in clinical trials include Azithromycin, Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, Interferons, Favipiravir, Lopinavir, Ritonavir, high dose Zinc and Vitamin C. Discovery Health’s clinical team has extensively evaluated all available evidence and literature on these agents, carefully weighing up the efficacy of these agents from a prophylactic and therapeutic perspective.

The latest available evidence for antiviral therapies such as Molnupiravir and Paxlovid has shown promising benefit in preventing severe illness and death, particularly in patients who are at higher risk of severe Covid-19 due to underlying medical conditions. These antivirals, although not yet widely registered for use yet, are indicated for patients with mild to moderate symptoms in the early stages of Covid-19 infection. Given the promising results, Discovery is already engaging the relevant manufacturers to ensure these products are included in scheme benefits as soon as the regulatory authorisation has been secured. 

Unfortunately there are currently no treatments that have shown clinical benefit nor received regulatory authorisation for use in the prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our clinical team continues to conduct research in this area but aside from the various non-pharmaceutical interventions such as mask-wearing, social distancing, appropriate ventilation and vaccination, there are no other proven interventions to prevent or mitigate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19.

In treating Covid-19 symptoms, doctors can prescribe medications that provide symptomatic relief including anti-inflammatories, analgesics, decongestants and vitamins. Although these treatments do not shorten the duration of illness nor prevent progression to severe illness they do assist with alleviation of mild to moderate symptoms. 

Discovery Health remains fully committed to ensuring access to clinically proven and regulatory approved interventions and will continue to update member benefits in line with these principles. We are also in constant engagement with various stakeholders including pharmaceutical companies and local healthcare professional bodies to ensure timeous and appropriate access to these interventions.

Thank you once again for reaching out to us and affording us this opportunity to respond to your questions.

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